As you faithful readers have noticed, I haven’t updated for a month. It got way too busy and I was forced to move my blog onto the backburner. My production went up on December 13th, and boy, the whole experience has been a roller coaster.
I started everything around June. First I found the play that I wanted to do, which is Funny-Faced Ogre (ベッカンコおに). I contacted the translator for permission to do the play. He also acted as the middleman between the original playwright and me. It wasn’t too difficult to obtain their permission (for a fee of course). By July, I assembled most of my production crew e.g. costume designer, makeup artist, dramaturg, lighting and sound designer, and props managers. I still didn’t have a stage manager, which is an essential role in theatre. The stage manager communicates with all the aspects of the production including actors.
With no stage manager, I moved along into auditions. It didn’t go very well. There weren’t enough actors. Luckily, as time went by, most of the roles were filled. The only problem was the English version.
Let me take this time to explain the concept of the play. Here’s a copy of the play and production synopsis:
Funny-Faced Ogre is a simple story of an ogre with a funny face under the service of the mountain goddess. One day, the ogre accidentally kidnaps Yuki, a blind village girl with whom he falls in love, while her father is away hunting. Yuki’s father returns and notices that his daughter has been taken by an ogre. Filled with vengeance, the father sets out with a murderous intent for the ogre.
Each performance consists of the English version (in a more traditional approach) followed by the Japanese version (in a more modern approach). Can an ogre become a man, or vice versa? Together, the two versions explore what makes ogres and monsters.
This production was the most unique one I’ve ever done. It was all sort of backwards. Usually, all the production aspects (e.g. set, lighting, sound) are all done before acting rehearsals. However, most of it was accomplished within the month leading to the performance date. The week before the performance was filled with me sleeping at my friend’s apartment every night. I didn’t plan for it, but there were a lot of things that needed to be done.
Overall, I had a worthwhile experience even though it was a loss financially. I’m really proud of my cast and crew who put in so much of their time and energy. I probably will not direct or produce another production in Japan, but I’m glad I accomplished it. Putting on a show was one of my goals before coming to Japan. I wonder if I will put on a show back in the states in the future. I certainly believe it would be a lot easier.
To finish off this post, I’ll list some surprises:
1) It seems that renting a theatre here is more of a hassle considering each aspect is a separate cost. Back in America, if I rent a theatre, I usually have it all for the time allotted.
2) Acting isn’t as popular here. Mind you, I also had a Japanese version. It’s just not seen as spectacular, I suppose. It was easier to get a crew set up, except for stage manager.
3) This happens anywhere, but I was amazed how many people signed on and then backed out.
4) Lighting was ridiculously expensive (1st class at least… I don’t want to explain).
5) This isn’t a surprise per se, but I was touched with how much help people put in. Also, it was awesome how everyone supported my vision.
It’s Christmas already! Where did all the time go?! Well, have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!! =) I’m going to Shanghai, so I won’t update until the weekend after New Year’s. Stay tuned on the first weekend of January for another update!
Après le samedi de la représentation, j’ai dormi pour quatorze heures. Le dimanche, je suis allé voir futsal. Il était interessant. Le sport est semblable au football. Je pense qu’il n’était pas une bonne idée d’être allé parce que j’étais trop de fatigué. À 5:15PM, j’ai essayé prendre mon passeport au bureau de voyage, mais il était fermé. Alors, j’ai revenu chez moi et j’ai dormi plus.
今週の聖書の詩: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
- Luke 2:14 (NIV)
今週の写真: Pictures from performance day and from the cast/crew party. (Note: not everyone involved was able to go to the party)